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Key Points from the Video Lesson

The statement that establishes the main issue of an essay is called a “thesis statement.” In academic writing, the thesis is usually found near the beginning of an essay. You’ve probably been told that it should go at the end of the first paragraph. This is a pretty good place for a thesis statement, but just be aware that this isn’t always the location in which you’ll find it.


What is a Thesis Statement?

For our class, (and the majority of university classes), the purpose of a thesis is to inform the reader about a writer’s specific opinion about a debatable issue.

 A thesis statement describes your position on a particular issue. It is not a list of facts, a summary, or a question. It should be clear and specific. A thesis statement guides the remaining content of the essay as you defend your position with supporting details. Your goal in writing a good thesis statement is to answer two key reader questions: “what’s your point?” and “why should I care?”.


Learn More

In the video, you were shown examples of poorly constructed thesis statements. Below are a few more examples of poor thesis statements that may look familiar.  At some point in our lives, we have all probably started an essay with sentences like these:

  • My essay will be about the importance of regular exercise in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • This essay will discuss some of the steps we can take to help protect our national parks in the United States.
  • My essay is about the moral lessons from To Kill a Mockingbird which are still relevant today.

These sentences give the reader an idea about where the essay is going. However, we still don’t know the author’s position or opinion about the topic. To improve these examples, the writer needs to take a side on the issues.


A good thesis statement:

  • is generally not a fact, summary, or a question
  • is specific enough to give the writer and reader some idea as to the direction the writing will take
  • states a position or opinion on the topic
  • can change over time as you work on your essay